JSO: Driver charged with murder after mother of 3 hit, killed

Shafonda Boynton, 34, died after she was struck by car, police say

By Ashley Harding - Reporter, Erik Avanier - Reporter, Lynnsey Gardner - Investigative reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Murder and attempted murder charges have been filed after a violent encounter early Wednesday morning left a Jacksonville mother of three dead. 

John Henry Perry fatally struck 34-year-old Shafonda Boynton with his car after the two got into an argument outside her home in the Ribault neighborhood, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said.

Perry, 47, is charged with murder, attempted murder and armed burglary and was booked into the Duval County jail.

Shafonda Boynton

Just before 3 a.m., police said, Boynton was outside her home on Friden Drive in Northwest Jacksonville when she was struck by the red Chevrolet Impala, and the impact carried her inside the house, where she was found by paramedics.

She was taken to a hospital, where she died three hours later from her injuries, her family said. 

According to the arrest report, another woman, Jaqueline Thompson, was also hit by Perry. Thompson told police she and Boynton were outside the home when Perry walked up and began talking with Boynton. The conversation became heated and Perry was told to leave.

Police said Thursday that an argument that began over a text message continued throughout the night until Perry went to Boynton's home to pick up a vehicle she borrowed from him.

Perry got into his car, but moments later, he used it to strike Thompson, then Boynton and then the home, investigators said. Thompson suffered minor injuries, and Boynton suffered a severe injury that led to her death, police said.

A neighbor, who did not wish to be identified, described what she heard. 

"Just a loud boom," the neighbor said. "I thought someone hit my truck. I just looked out the window and saw the car in the yard. That's all. I come downstairs and see Rescue."

Boynton's three young children are now living with relatives. Multiple neighbors said the children have now lost both their parents, telling News4Jax their father recently died from natural causes. 

I-TEAM looks into Perry's lengthy criminal history

Perry has an extensive criminal history that includes 23 arrests in Jacksonville dating back to 1989, according to court records. He recently served just over a year in prison for multiple drug convictions in 2015.

John Perry

In 1990, Perry was charged with second-degree murder and robbery, but the case was dropped.

The following year, Perry was convicted of making threats and burglary. In 2007, he was twice convicted on drug charges.

In 2008, Perry was charged with aggravated assault and battery after police said he used his car to assault Wilmer Tucker, the manager of the Stadium Club at the time. Tucker said he escorted Perry out of the club after he caught him dealing drugs.

Tucker, who now lives in Nebraska, explained the ordeal to News4Jax by phone.

"He hanged on to me and dragged me at least 75 yards," Tucker said. "I got scrapes on my ankles, my chin, knees, my hip and my elbow."

That case was later dropped by the State Attorney’s Office.

The I-TEAM asked the State Attorney's Office why the 1990 and 2008 cases were dropped by prosecutors. A spokesperson said both case files are kept offsite, but it is working to get them and "will be reviewing the files for any pertinent information."

Tucker was shocked when he learned of Boynton's death.

"I feel like the judicial system did an injustice on her. This guy should have never been near anybody," he said. "I'm beyond words that 23 times and he has not done any hard time. It's unbelievable."

It's unclear when the State Attorney Office's files from the 1990 and 2008 cases will be found and released. 

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